NFL Team Report - Kansas City Chiefs - INSIDE SLANT
For most NFL teams, it's hard these days to differentiate between an OTA session and a minicamp practice.
But that's especially true for the Chiefs in Andy Reid's first offseason as head coach in Kansas City. With almost perfect attendance during the already completed 10 organized team activities, the so-called mandatory minicamp that started Tuesday turns into just three more days of practice for Reid, his staff and players.
"The thing the guys are doing is they're challenging each other, and that's where you get better," Reid said. "I appreciate that attitude and the work ethic. They just keep on doing it, keep learning, staying in the playbook. It's been very productive."
The Chiefs' roster has been between 85 and the 90-player limit for the last month, and no player missed an OTA that wasn't known to Reid and his staff before the absence. All those occasions combined totaled less than a half-dozen players that were not on the field. Even the injured players have been on site and on the field as they go through rehab.
Asked the most encouraging factor in his new assignment with the Chiefs, Reid did not hesitate with an answer.
"It's the work ethic right now, guys trying to get better," he said. "There are a lot of little things that determine whether you're going to be an average team or a good team and are you going to be fundamentally sound against all the different looks, whether you're on the defensive or offensive side, so you've got to spend time at it. It's not good enough just to learn the play. Let's learn it inside and out. Let's learn all the leverage positions you need to be in. The guys are doing that, they're working at it.
"Those little things -- that's what counts. But normally those are the things that the players will back away from. 'OK, I've got the route, but what are the intricacies of that route? I've got the coverage, but exactly how does that tie in with my linebacker or safety or whatever it might be?'
"They're concentrating on that and they're working on that very well. From a coaching standpoint, that's all you can ask for."
Luckily for the Chiefs, the list of injured players has been quite small, with only two players missing all of the OTAs -- tight end Tony Moeaki and running back Shaun Draughn.
Both are rehabbing from offseason surgery; with Moeaki it was his left knee, and for Draughn it was a sports hernia.
Wide receiver Donnie Avery has missed time with a high ankle sprain. Running back Jamaal Charles had an MRI on his right foot after a teammate stepped on him during a practice last week. The pictures came back negative and Charles was on the field for Tuesday's minicamp practice, showing the foot will not be a problem. Other players missed a practice or two, but they were on the field getting mental reps.
"This is a new defense and a new offense, so you don't want to miss anything," said veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson. "You get behind and it's hard to catch up. They aren't going to wait for you."
Reid has established in the minds of his players that there may be a new general manager, head coach, coaching staff, starting quarterback and heaven knows how many new players on the roster when all is said and done in September -- but the Chiefs are not rebuilding.
"You never look at it as a rebuilding year; that's college talk," said Johnson, the longest-tenured player with the franchise (he arrived in 2005). "You always reload. Even though we didn't win a lot of games last year, this team has some good core players that we can reload with, plus some new guys like Alex Smith that can help us win.
"We have high expectations. Andy Reid has already made it plain to us that if you are playing for anything else but a championship, you are not doing justice to the game."
NFL Team Report - Kansas City Chiefs - NOTES, QUOTES
--As the Chiefs went through their minicamp, team chairman Clark Hunt indicated he was very pleased with what he saw on the practice field from his new coaching staff and especially his new starting quarterback. "Clearly, Alex Smith is the focus," Hunt said. "Watching him lead the team has given me a lot of comfort. Watching him throw the ball is really exciting. He's somebody that has a command of the offense and brings a resume of success to the Chiefs."
--While there are no definitive plans set yet, Smith says he plans to make sure that over the six-week break before the start of training camp, he and his receivers get together for some on-field work.
"Everyone has their own schedule, but I'm sure we'll get together," Smith said. One teammate that said he planned to be available was wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. "We are going to get together and see what works," Bowe said. "I might go to him, he might come to me, we might do a little of both."
--Almost from the first moment he stepped on the practice field, the Chiefs and NFL's No. 1 selection in the 2013 NFL Draft has felt comfortable. Eric Fisher has been at right tackle throughout the minicamps and OTAs and looks like he's been there for years.
"Going against the guys I'm going against makes me a better player every day," said Fisher. "That's what every day is, just a chance to get better, to jump into the playbook and get a better grasp of the offense."
Head coach Andy Reid said he's seen that from Fisher. "He's gotten better each practice," said Reid. "He's really fit in well with that group and he's handled everything we've thrown at them."
--Kansas City head coach Andy Reid has a big fan in another guy that held that same position - former Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil. Over the last few years, Vermeil was a visitor at Reid's practices with the Eagles and they have become good friends. "He's rejuvenated," Vermeil said of Reid. "You can tell. I've been with him through all different moods over the last few years ... he does the right things for the right reasons the right way with the right people at the right time. He's got all the rights."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He's a leader on and off the field. He's putting pressure on the defense. He's running the huddle. When we don't have a huddle, he's speeding guys up and the tempo gets us in better shape. He's pushing the defense, so that's going to make our team better." -- Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe on quarterback Alex Smith.
NFL Team Report - Kansas City Chiefs - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
FRANCHISE PLAYER: T Branden Albert (tendered at $9.828 million; signed tender March 21).
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--CB Travis Daniels (not tendered as UFA).
--S Abram Elam (not tendered as UFA).
--RB Peyton Hillis (not tendered as UFA).
--G Russ Hochstein (not tendered as UFA).
--G Ryan Lilja (not tendered as UFA).
--DB Kyle McCarthy (not tendered as ERFA).
--TE Jake O'Connell (not tendered as UFA).
--TE Martin Rucker (not tendered as RFA).
--LB Brandon Siler (not tendered as UFA).
--DT Shaun Smith (not tendered as UFA).
--LB Leon Williams (not tendered as UFA).
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: None.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
DRAFT CHOICES SIGNED
--TE Travis Kelce (3/63): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--RB Knile Davis (3/96): $2.751M/4 yrs, $516,000 SB.
--LB Nico Johnson (4/99): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--CB Sanford Commings (5/134): $2.47M/4 yrs, $215,000 SB.
--C Eric Kush (6/170): $2.309M/4 yrs, $125,000 SB.
--FB Braden Wilson (6/204): $2.262M/4 yrs, $78,680 SB.
--LB Mike Catapano (7/207): $2.244M/4 yrs, $69,124 SB.
--T Branden Albert: FFA; $9.828M/1 yr.
--WR Dwayne Bowe: Potential UFA; $56M/5 yrs, $15M SB/$26M guaranteed.
--P Dustin Colquitt: Potential UFA; $18.75M/5 yrs, $8.9M guaranteed.
--LS Thomas Gafford: UFA; $715,000/1 yr.
--LB Edgar Jones: UFA; terms unknown.
--S Husain Abdullah: FA; $715,000/1 yr.
--WR Donnie Avery: UFA Colts; $8.55M/3 yrs, $2.25M SB/$2.55M guaranteed.
--QB Chase Daniel: UFA Saints; $10M/3 yrs, $3M SB/$4.8M guaranteed.
--S Quintin Demps: UFA Texans; $715,000/1 yr.
--LB Zac Diles: UFA Titans; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DE Mike DeVito: UFA Jets; $12.6M/3 yrs, $6.2M guaranteed.
--TE Anthony Fasano: UFA Dolphins; $16M/4 yrs, $4.5M guaranteed.
--WR Mardy Gilyard: FA; $555,000/1 yr.
--LB Akeem Jordan: UFA Eagles; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--DE Austen Lane (waivers Jaguars).
--LB Orie Lemon: Not tendered as ERFA by Cowboys; 1 yr, terms unknown.
--CB Dunta Robinson: FA Falcons; $15M/3 yrs, $3M SB/$3.95M guaranteed.
--G/T Geoff Schwartz: UFA Vikings; $630,000/1 yr.
--QB Alex Smith (trade).
--CB Sean Smith: UFA Dolphins; $18M/3 yrs, $12M guaranteed.
--LB Frank Zombo: Not tendered as RFA by Packers; terms unknown.
--TE Kevin Boss (failed physical).
--WR Steve Breaston (released).
--QB Matt Cassel (released).
--FB Patrick DiMarco (released).
--DE Glenn Dorsey: UFA 49ers; $6M/2 yrs, $2.285M SB.
--LB Cory Greenwood (released).
--TE Steve Maneri: Not tendered as ERFA/Bears; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
--G Bryan Mattison (released).
--DE Ropati Pitoitua: UFA Titans; terms unknown.
--QB Brady Quinn: UFA Seahawks; terms unknown.
--G/C Rich Ranglin (released/non-football injury).
--LB Andy Studebaker (released).
--QB Alex Tanney (released).
--T Eric Winston (released).